2015 Hiyu Wine Farm, Arco Iris Red, Columbia Gorge, Oregon.
This wildly adventurous natural wine project from Oregon’s Columbia Gorge, Hiyu Wine Farm offers a glimpse of the future of permaculture and holistic winemaking without historic dogma and modern traditions with a set of well crafted, but totally unique wines, including this all organic/natural 85% Pinot Noir and 15% Pinot Gris (with long skin contact) red Arco Iris. Using biodynamic practices and building a sustainable farm, with full cycle plants throughout the Hiyu Wine Farm wants to reduce all forms of waste while getting the most intensity of flavors from the grapes (especially) and the first public releases show wonderful promise, even though they don’t resemble any mainstream wines at all. One of the whites is a Jura meets Alsace solera with a amber/gold hue and slight sherry like notes, but with an orange wine like profile, it will never please the Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc crowd, but is clearly made with hyper attention to detail and skill, as it is not a stinky funky mess and can be enjoyed for it’s style, balance and texture, but it’s their red Arco Iris that thrills with it’s dense red berry and savory tones, it’s dry and mineral laced, but with generous richness, fruit intensity and length. The 2015 Arco Iris Columbia Gorge Red by Hiyu Wine Farm is freakishly expensive and won’t be a wine to experiment on just for kicks, though maybe it takes natural wine in America to a new place, it’s more than a hippy exercise in counter culture, it’s first and foremost a beautiful and intriguing wine of graceful detail and harmonious texture, it leads with crushed rose petal, a light dusting of mixed spices before a medium bodied palate of black cherry, plum and marionberry as well as a touch of leather, minty lavender, fennel, blood orange and dried guava. This is a ripe and fleshy wine that catches your attention for it’s disregard for the norms without being overtly militant or stupidly blind to expectations. The Hiyu Wine Farm wines are impressive and entertaining, hopefully the time is right for their success and that they find their niche, it will be a better world with such wines, even though they price will scare many away, including myself sadly, that said, I will revisit them and follow their progress, in particular this Pinot Noir/Pinot Gris co-ferment cuvee that sort of reminds me of Foradori, La Stoppa or Gravner in ways.
($106 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

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